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US oil, gas exploration rigs drop this week by 11

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December 28, 2012 03:19 PM EST | AP

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HOUSTON — Oilfield services company Baker Hughes Inc. says the number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in the U.S. fell this week by 11, to 1,763.

Baker Hughes, based in Houston, said Friday that 1,327 rigs were exploring for oil and 431 were searching for gas. Five were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago, Baker Hughes counted 2,007 rigs.

Of the major oil- and gas-producing states, Alaska and West Virginia gained one rig each.

Texas declined by eight rigs and California and Louisiana each dropped two.

Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Wyoming were unchanged.

The rig count peaked at 4,530 in 1981 and bottomed at 488 in 1999.